Posted by Danny
Today’s text message to Dad:
Can you pick me up two hours late from Driver’s Ed?
We’re running late.
Did you get into a wreck?
IT WASN’T MY FAULT!
Maybe the first clue that this Driver’s Ed stuff was going to be a challenge was when the instructor emailed DJ:
I’ll be in the front circle of your school at 4:00 on Thursday. Look for a blonde wearing sunglasses.
Or, DJ, you could just look for the car with the enormous ‘Driver’s Ed’ sign on the top.
The two novice drivers got to the car and our wise instructor asked, “Either of you ever driven before?”
Driver 1: “Never.”
DJ: “A couple of times.”
Kicking her shoes off and bracing her bare feet on the dashboard, the instructor tossed the keys to DJ. “You’re on.”
And out to Hillsborough Street, in rush hour traffic, she went – straight toward the newest asphalt edition in town, our first double roundabout. Had I been the instructor, I would have driven her to a dirt road in rural Chatham County. But then, I’ve seen her drive before.
Now I love the roundabout – it’s the most efficient way to get down the street – with no stop signs or lights. I like it so much, sometimes I take an extra loop around just for fun. But it’s no place for a newby or for about half of the women in my life who tell me they just don’t get the circle of traffic. They approach a roundabout like I approach a crystal glass, with timidness and care.
Instead of tapping the breaks and speeding on through, they come to a complete stop – looking in both directions (although it’s a one way circle), and pondering from which direction the next car might approach. Break dancing doesn’t come naturally to me, roundabouts don’t come naturally to them.
After making it down Hillsborough Street, the instructor had the girls drive by her house four times to ensure that her children were getting the yard work finished.
“Slow down DJ,” the window goes down.
“John, John, get ALL the weeds in the driveway! And Sarah, go get dinner started, I’ll be back in an hour!”
I was surprised she made that prediction with DJ behind the wheel.
But indeed she did make it home and DJ did too – on day 1.
Day 2 brought a different instructor. And a half mile from the gates of the school, DJ came across a car in front of her that was, surprisingly, coming to a stop. She claims she saw it and was slowing down, but apparently her instructor felt she could have perhaps shown a bit more urgency with her right foot. So, he slammed on brakes from the passenger side of the vehicle missing DJ’s target. The person behind him, also a little slow on the draw, and the next two cars behind him not so lucky.
It was around 5:30 pm, and I was in my car headed home and listening to Mix 101.5 when the traffic report came on.
Traffic is slow on The Beltline and stop-and-go on I 40 East. And there is gridlock on Hillsborough Street at the Oberlin Road intersection due to a four car pileup.
Little did I know that my daughter was driving the first of the four.
It is true that the accident was not her fault. It is also true that I am in search of an older model vehicle with a passenger side brake.